When Hurricane María clobbered Puerto Rico in 2017, several of the archipelago’s museums were damaged, prompting curators to rush collections to safe, climate-controlled warehouses. While none of the art was destroyed, knowing the risk of damage inspired Google and Lin-Manuel Miranda to join forces to digitize Puerto Rico’s treasured pieces.
Through its Arts & Culture platform, Google is bringing its extremely high-definition Art Camera to Puerto Rico to create a digital archive of some 40,000 works of historical and cultural value. In addition to preserving pieces, the archive also allows the world to get a glance at the artistic work coming out of the Caribbean archipelago.
“We hope that the world will get a glimpse of the art treasures of Puerto Rico and — then come visit them,” Miranda said during the Nov. 7 launch event in San Juan, Quartz reported.
View this post on Instagram
This work has been described as “the most wonderful painting in existence” and considered by many to be the finest work in the collection of ️ @museoarteponce . Interestingly, “Flaming June” disappeared from the public eye for decades during the early 20th century. However, it reappeared when it was it was purchased by Luis A. Ferré in the 1970s. Click the link in our bio for more information and to see other works of art from the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Frederic Leighton 1895 #puertorico
The archive currently holds the 350 pieces, including works from the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, Museo de Arte de Ponce and Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.
“The Google Arts & Culture platform offers a strong and necessary starting point for the discovery and appreciation of Puerto Rican art, which is often overlooked,” Patrick Charpenel, executive director of New York’s El Museo del Barrio, told the news site.
While the project is believed to be a good start at preserving and exhibiting Puerto Rican art, Carmen Ramos, deputy chief curator and curator of Latino Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, said at present it is incomplete become it lacks the contributions of Puerto Ricans in the diaspora.
View this post on Instagram
Take a look at this extraordinary abstract painting where you can really feel the vibrant colors and life of #PuertoRico. You will find this painting at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. It was created by Olga Albizu, a pioneer for the abstract movement on the island. What does this painting bring to mind? To see more art like this, click the link in our bio. 1978 #PuertoRico
“There are more Puerto Ricans living in the continental U.S. than in the archipelago. Major artists like Raphael Montañez Ortiz and Rafael Ferrer have been working in the US since the 1950s, and others followed to the present day,” she said.
Look through the ultra-high-resolution photos of the art pieces at Google Arts & Culture.